We have to go back to 2016 for the last bunch sprint on the Via Roma in San Remo. Arnaud Démare on the winning end and the Frechman succeeded John Degenkolb, who in turn superseded Alexander Kristoff.
On the last five occasions the Poggio proved too much for most riders. Last year, an Alaphilippe attack was followed by Van Aert before Van der Poel came across with nine more riders. The group plunged down towards San Remo and before reaching the city Stuyven jumped clear. Kragh Andersen rejoined him and the Dane pushed hard, while Belgian played it cool. He sat in the wheels and kicked again in the final 100 metres to hold off the chasers and win the race. Ewan sprinted to second place ahead of 2020’s winner Van Aert.
In 2020, Van Aert outgunned Alaphilippe in a two-up sprint on the Via Roma; three years ago it was Alaphilippe himself who finished it off after a decisive move on the Poggio with Sagan, Van Aert, Valverde, Trentin, Naesen and Kwiatkowski on his wheel; in 2018 Nibali opened up a gap just before the top of the Poggio and zoomed down the descent in triumphant style; Kwiatkowski outsprinted Sagan and Alaphilippe in 2017 after holding off the chasing peloton in the descent of the Poggio.
Skillfull descenders with fast legs, those are the riders to watch at La Primavera. Or the bold and the brave who manage to crest the Poggio solo.
Favourites 2022 Milan – San Remo
***** Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen
**** Mathieu van der Poel, Fabio Jakobsen, Tom Pidcock, Tadej Pogacar
*** Matej Mohoric, Alberto Bettiol, Primoz Roglic, Michael Matthews
** Jasper Philipsen, Michal Kwiatkowski, Matteo Trentin, Søren Kragh Andersen
* Ethan Hayter, Peter Sagan, Bryan Coquard, Giacomo Nizzolo, Alex Aranburu